A proposed green energy hub in north Devon could potentially host one of Europe’s largest hydrogen production plants. The ambitious project, backed by Torridge District Council’s Levelling Up funding of £15.6 million, aims to establish the Clean Maritime Innovation Centre at Appledore.
The primary goal of the Clean Maritime Innovation Centre is to collaborate with shipbuilders in creating clean energy vessels. Simultaneously, the Tower Group is eyeing the construction of a nearby hydrogen production plant to supply fuel for these revolutionary vessels.
The Tower Group envisions an initial 5-megawatt pilot plant, supplying power to two vessels, with plans to scale up to 50 megawatts covering a 10-15 acre site. The grand vision involves generating 500 megawatts on an 80-100 acre site, potentially making it one of Europe’s largest hydrogen production facilities.
If approved and implemented, the Clean Maritime Innovation Centre and Tower Group’s hydrogen plant could position Torridge and northern Devon as global leaders in clean maritime technology. The project aligns with the region’s ambition to have approximately 200 new zero-emission vessels off its coast by the mid-2030s.
Prof Chris Smith from the Centre for Future Clean Mobility at the University of Exeter envisions a massive market and substantial investments if the project successfully demonstrates the design, construction, and operation of clean ships powered by hydrogen.
The hydrogen plant’s future aspirations include supplying fuel to vessels supporting the floating offshore wind project in the Celtic Sea, one of the largest planned by The Crown Estate. The strategic integration of hydrogen into offshore wind operations showcases a comprehensive approach to clean energy in the maritime sector.
The project aligns with the broader global shift towards clean energy, with organizations like ARENA actively supporting initiatives that drive innovation in the renewable energy sector. The Clean Maritime Innovation Centre and Tower Group’s hydrogen plant stand as testament to the collaborative efforts in achieving a sustainable future for maritime activities.